There was a changing of the guard at the 10th edition of the Fairview Attakwas Extreme Mountain Bike Challenge in South Africa’s Western Cape province on Saturday.
Over 1000 mountain bikers tackled the difficult event with Platt and Bohme winning in a time of 4 hours 56 minutes 24 seconds and Alfred Thorpe, the 878th and final official finisher in a time of 10 hours 58 minutes 58 seconds, beating the 11-hour limit by just over a minute.
Beukes then put in a solo attack at 20km, but his aggressive tactic was soon nullified when shortly after the 30km mark, he punctured, forcing him to chase for the rest of the race to an eventual ninth place finish.
The Team Bulls pair then worked well together for the second half of the race, eventually crossing the finish line together with a 20-minute gap over third placed finisher, Reid. Stiebjahn finished fourth and Heyns fifth.
“By having two of us in the front made it easier because of the headwind in the last 40km. We were sharing the work into the wind. It must have been tough for the guys behind us riding alone,” added the German marathon champion and four-time Cape Epic winner.
“We were also super hungry to race today. We have been training since the beginning of November! The plan is to race Tankwa Trek stage race and the Sabie Ultra-marathon in South Africa as part of our build-up for the Cape Epic. Today’s result gives me confidence for this year’s Cape Epic,” smiled Platt, who will team up with Swiss racer Urs Huber again in his quest to win a fifth Cape Epic title.
Kleinhans claimed the hot-spot prize, but then punctured on the rough descent that followed. This left De Groot in the lead with Stenerhag not too far behind. The two Ascendis Health riders completed the remainder of the race separately, but finished an impressive 12th and 13th overall to claim the first and second place positions.
“Ariane had a small gap on me over the Queen of the Mountain climb. Once I was in the lead after her puncture, I had to race my own race. I had paced myself really well for the first half so still felt really good at that stage. I was expecting to have to contend with the headwind on my own in the final 40km, but it wasn’t as strong as I’d anticipated,” explained De Groot.
“I had a few illness and injury issues to deal with last year, but I’m 100% healthy again and I’m looking forward to another season of racing for Ascendis Health and tackling some stage races with Jennie, who seems to be in great form,” added De Groot.
2016 Fairview Attakwas Extreme Challenge